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Hartland student says she's faced racial intimidation, taunts and threats for 3 months

Posted at 8:53 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 19:59:24-05

HARTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — A Hartland High School student says she's been called the n-word, taunted by students and threatened with lynching over the past three months and the school administration and teachers have not done anything about it.

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The Black student, whose identity is being held by 7 Action News, wrote in a Facebook post about the ongoing racism she says she's faced over the past several months while in the Hartland Community School District.

She says the actions of several other students have not been addressed by school authorities. She's now afraid for her life.

"These past three months have been the WORST months I've ever had to go through," the Facebook post read.

The student details being called racist names such as "moon cricket" and the n-word as students make fun of her hair and appearance. She said the racism and bullying forced her to stay home for nearly three weeks. When she returned to the school, the alleged racist taunting continued, according to a comment under the original post from the student's friend. According to that post, the student reported the incidents to the school administration again, to which students then said "she deserves to be lynched."

The Hartland school district responded to the allegations by sending a letter to students and parents saying that the incidents will be investigated and those involved would receive "appropriate disciplinary action."

Dear Hartland Parents and Students: You may be aware of a social media posting made yesterday evening in which there were allegations of racial discrimination/harassment at Hartland High School.

This letter is being written because I believe it is essential that you know the Hartland Consolidated School District does not take these allegations lightly and will do everything possible to ensure that all children are safe and welcome at school every day.

Board Policy 5517 and the Secondary Parent-Student Handbook clearly establish that the district will not tolerate racial intimidation or harassment in conjunction with Federal civil rights laws. Our staff will investigate all allegations of unlawful harassment and in those cases where harassment is substantiated, we will take immediate steps to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Individuals who are found to have engaged in harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action which could include intervention by law enforcement.

Harassment is defined as any threatening, insulting, or dehumanizing gesture, use of technology, or written, verbal or physical conduct directed against a student or school employee that: • places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property • has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities, or benefits, or an employee’s work performance • has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of a school This situation causes me to stop and think about our tenets of Reason, Respect, and Responsibility, as well as our work with the EAGLES (Empathy, Achievement, Grit, Link, Empower, and Serve) platform.

These words and beliefs are extremely meaningful to our district and the development of good citizens. I ask that parents and students have a conversation tonight about what these words mean to them and how important it is to embrace one another and treat each other with civility and respect. The situation that we are working through is one that requires time to fully investigate and align intervention so that the high school can continue to provide a safe environment for every individual regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, religion, height, weight, marital or family status, military status ancestry, or genetic information. Hartland Consolidated Schools will do everything possible to ensure school is a safe place for all students, without exception! Respectfully, Chuck Hughes